|Women’s Hundred final, Lord’s
|Oval Invincibles 121-6 (100 balls): Van Niekerk 26 (29), Kapp 26 (14); Bell 2-24
|Southern Brave 73 all out (98 balls): Morris 23 (26); Chapter 4-9
|Invincibles win by 48 runs
Oval Invincibles stormed to an emphatic 48-run victory over favourites Southern Brave to become the first women’s Hundred champions on a historic afternoon at Lord’s.
After setting a target of 122, the Invincibles bowled out the Brave for just 73 in a perfect bowling performance.
Marizanne Kapp took three wickets in the first 10 balls – the Brave’s top three batters all out without scoring.
And with a 17,116-strong crowd watching on – a record for a women’s domestic match anywhere in the world – the frantic start continued when Fran Wilson’s brilliant throw ran out Maia Bouchier.
Brave, who cruised through the group stages with seven wins from eight, had no answer to the fired-up Invincibles and subsided to a miserable defeat on the biggest of occasions.
Kapp, who also scored 26 in the Invincibles’ 121-6, took the final wicket and looked in disbelief before she was lifted into the air by her wife Dane van Niekerk, the Invincibles’ masterful, inspirational captain.
“It is so historical and special,” Van Niekerk, 28, said.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to take in playing here. It was a childhood dream to play a final here and win it. It is special.”
Kapp roars Invincibles to famous victory
Extraordinary. Truly extraordinary. This famous old ground has seen a lot but Kapp’s stunning spell which had the crowd gasping in disbelief will live long in the memory of those who were present.
Kapp is a fiery 31-year-old South African and roared as first Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley – the Brave’s two big England internationals – and then Gaby Lewis fell.
This is the very first time a women’s domestic final has been held at Lord’s. What a time to deliver.
“I have no idea what is going on!” said England World Cup winner Alex Hartley on BBC commentary.
“It was almost the perfect performance by Oval Invincibles,” added England captain Heather Knight.
Kapp, who missed six games in the group stage because of injury, finished with tournament-best figures of four wickets for nine runs from 18 balls.
Emotional scenes on special Lord’s day
Many of the Invincibles players were emotional as they celebrated with each other and the crowd.
Van Niekerk was soon in tears and at the trophy presentation insisted her less-experienced team-mates lifted the large gold trophy. It was a touching moment from someone who has drove the Invincibles on more than any other.
In all it was a special day for women’s sport in the UK and English cricket as a whole.
This tournament has its detractors – and some viable concerns – but the sight of a large, youthful crowd at Lord’s for a domestic women’s match was something to behold.
It goes close to matching the famous day on the same ground in 2017 when England won the Women’s World Cup in front of packed stands.
“It just makes me proud,” Knight said.
“Being involved in that 2017 World Cup final, it was unheard of. Now to see Lord’s nearly full for a domestic women’s final – it has been a brilliant day for women’s cricket.
“It feels like a momentous occasion as that World Cup final did.”
Brave fall at final hurdle
The Invincibles had to come through Friday’s eliminator to reach the final – a game they looked out of at one stage – while the Brave sailed straight through to the final as group-stage winners.
They were dominant in the early stages of the tournament but produced their worst performance at the worst possible time.
Anya Shrubsole’s side had not played since they beat the Invincibles convincingly on Monday.
Did the break affect them? While Kapp bowled excellently there were also a number of soft dismissals.
“The pressure of the occasion may have got too much for them,” Hartley said.
“The Oval Invincibles, coming in with a bit of momentum, absolutely dominated today.”